DOTr: Metro Pacific gets original proponent status

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The Department of Transportation said Metro Pacific Investments Corp. obtained an original proponent status for the rehabilitation and takeover of the operations and maintenance (O&M) of MRT3 system.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tuagade, however, said getting an original proponent status did not mean MPIC’s proposal was automatically approved.

“There will be discussion and agreement, then it will be submitted to Neda. If Neda and the President approved it, there will be Swiss Challenge,” Tugade said, referring to the National Economic and Development Authority.

“We have created a platform to explore possibilities, including privatization to address the issues in MRT,” he added.

The consortium of MPIC and Ayala Corp. earlier submitted an unsolicited proposal to Transportation Department to upgrade and rehabilitate MRT 3 system for P12.5 billion. 

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tuagade

The consortium is also looking at buying out the stake of the government and private investors in MRT 3. 

The government through Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines own a combined 80-percent economic interest in MRT 3, while the balance is held by creditors of Metro Rail Transit Corp.

MPIC in 2011 offered to buy out the shares of LBP and DBP in MRT 3 for $1.1 billion.

MPIC-Ayala Group earlier said it expects to take over the O&M of MRT3 in six months from the submission of its application as the original proponent to the government in July.

MPIC submitted a proposal to the Department of Transportation in 2011 to invest $524 million to rehabilitate and upgrade MRT 3.  

The Aquino administration, however, rejected Metro Pacific’s offer that would involve raising commuter fares.

MRT 3, which runs along Edsa from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, serves over 500,000 passengers a day, beyond its rated capacity of 350,000.

The line has a fleet of 73 Czech-made air-conditioned rail cars.

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